Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Potency Is Still an Issue but Traore Is Quickly Improving

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Potency Is Still an Issue but Traore Is Quickly Improving

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHONY VICKERS anthony.vickers@trinitymirror.com @Untypicalboro

IT WAS a frustrating finale against Fulham as the visitors snatched victory with a hotly-disputed penalty. The sense of injustice was doubled because Boro had a clear cut penalty shout of their own waved away.

But Boro will know that the stinging defeat and the rows over the spot-kick calls could have been avoided had they taken a string of golden chances to score when they were on top.

Due to reporting restrictions placed on The Gazette by the club we are not currently asking the manager press conference questions but if we were, these would have been among the issues we would have addressed.

Are you concerned at the failure to hit the target? For all the fluid first half approach play, Boro failed to have single shot on target as twice Rudy Gestede went through one-on-one and twice poked shots wide.

After the break Martin Braithwaite wriggled into the box and hit the side-netting and Britt Assombalonga got free but chipped on to the bar.

Good chances created but no shots on target is a damning indictment of an expensively assembled strike force.

In the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa there was just one on target. Even at Preston, a stirring fightback from behind, there were just seven - although three of them counted.

Is it a worry that Boro are so often failing to trouble the opposition keeper? What can be done to address that lack of potency? Does the solution to the shots on target problem lie in a switch in tactics or a change in personnel? It is early days in the Tony Pulis era and not every permutation of the attacking options has been tried yet.

Will the shape be tweaked? Is a partnership between Assombalonga and Gestede, Braithwaite or Bamford in a twin-pronged attack viable? Would that produce more shots on target? Can the players be drilled to be more clinical and sharper to unleash? If they can't will it mean going into the market for players who are more effective.

Did the second half substitutions hand Fulham the initiative? Fulham improved after the break but Boro contained them comfortably and still created the better chances. …

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